The Los Angeles Times has obtained more court documents from the explosive Stanford University rape case in which Brock Turner, a former swimmer, was found guilty of multiple counts of sexual assault. One of the documents is a letter from Turner’s ex-girlfriend, Lydia Pocisk, to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky defending Turner’s character. Pocisk tells Persky in the letter that she dated Turner for two years in high school and has maintained a friendship with him for eight years. She expressed shock that Turner could have committed a crime as heinous as the one he was convicted of, and described him as “kind, loving, respectful, relaxed, silently hilarious, and determined individual.” Pocisk, who testified as a character witness in Turner’s trial, said he’d made her a “better person” and that he “could never deserve this or do anything he has been convicted of in a thousand of his lives.” It was one of 44 letters submitted to the judge on Turner’s behalf.
Persky sentenced Turner earlier this month to six months in a county jail after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman who was completely incapacitated from alcohol intoxication behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus. The sentence triggered outrage among many who thought it was too lenient. New controversy erupted when it was reported that Turner would only have to serve three of those six months in jail due to a rule that stipulates first-time inmates with a clean disciplinary record have their sentences cut in half.
According to an earlier round of court papers that were released, several factors influenced Persky’s thinking on the sentencing, including the recommendation of a parole officer who advised a four- to six-month sentence based on the fact that Turner was so heavily intoxicated during the crime, combined with the fact that he had no prior criminal record. Persky has come under intense fire and a Change.org petition calling for his recall has now topped 1.2 million signatures.